Jul 102012

I wrote this piece as my submission to the the3sixfive project. It was published today on their site, and I’m presenting it here to you.

“Active Recovery” is what personal trainers call it: that’s when you follow a particularly intense training period with one that’s a little easier on your muscles, giving you the chance to recover without losing momentum.

I was halfway through my early-morning bike ride in Busse Woods when I dialed down the intensity to catch my breath. In a moment of clarity (this was at 5:45 AM and I was still an hour away from my first cup of coffee, so this is significant) I realized that the idea of the “active recovery” is as much a part of my everyday life as it is to my workouts.

Last week, I left my position at a company where I worked for six years. For most of that time I was in a role that had me on the phone with London at 2:00 AM, in the office in Chicago at 6:30 AM, and on the phone again with Asia at 7:00 PM. I was the guy you’d see on the train with a Bluetooth in his ear and occasionally saying “Can we get back to the issue?” If there were a corporate-equivalent “26.2” sticker I certainly deserved to have dozens of them splattered on the side of my briefcase.

When I resigned to accept a role at a new company I decided to take a week off in between. And true to form I’ve been getting up with my alarm at 4:30, only now my race is to the forest preserve instead of Metra. While my wife is at work, I’m managing the details of the family reunion we’re hosting this weekend, catching up on my not-for-profit work, and fixing things around the house. So while I’m not spending this week fire-walking through the corporate world, I’ve turned to family, home, community, and the pedals of my Specialized Allez to recharge.

On Monday morning I’ll be at a new desk with a new phone number and a new company name on my business cards, and I’ll be ready for whatever challenges come my way, thanks to my Active Recovery.

The rest of my morning ride went beautifully, and I even set a new personal record.

This past Sunday the 11th annual Bike the Drive event was held on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.

After riding the 30-mile route, I took the time to ride around downtown Chicago a bit, and wound up at Millennium Park, where I shot this photo of the Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) sculpture.

There were over 20,000 participants and the weather was beautiful. Another of our favorite cycling events!

 

Shot with my camera phone on August 14 from the stable area at Arlington Park.

Fireworks at Arlington Park

 

To say we had a busy Fourth weekend would be an understatement.

We started on Saturday with a day of racing and fireworks at Arlington Park, followed by outdoor work on Sunday.  On Monday, we started with breakfast at Village Grill of Arlington and then walked in the Arlington Heights Parade with the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Afterwards, we walked to Peggy Kinnane’s for a post-parade refreshment and then lunch at Superdawg Wheeling.  The evening of the Fourth found us walking up Central Road to watch the fireworks at the Mt Prospect Lions’ Club festival at Melas Park.

And that was just the beginning.

I got back on my road bike and made it through the Busse Woods trail in record time on Tuesday morning, and it seems the rest of the week is going to shape up just as busy.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

Aug 172010

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We found something that we like more than a Cubs game– fun at the ol’ racetrack.

Here are some shots of our Sunday afternoon at Arlington Park.

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Jul 132010

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I took advantage of my week off and took a few rides on the 8 mile loop on the bike path that runs though Busse Woods.

I took my 1990 Schwinn Woodlands out one day, and I did just fine on it. This bike has been my workhorse over the years: it’s the one I ride around town and to the grocery store, and it still keeps on ticking. It’s also a great training bike, because it’s heavier than some of the hybrids they sell today, so it takes a bit more to get it moving.

I also got out the 2004 Specialized Allez (pictured above), and taking this bike on the trail after working out on the Schwinn is quite an experience. This bike is insanely light and when you press on the pedals you just go. I noticed the gears are a little out of alignment, so at the end of the week I’ll be trying out the service at a new bike shop in town, Campbell Street Bikes.

There’s something very peaceful about these early morning (weekday!) rides. It’s not very crowded, and getting out there first thing in the morning (before 7:30 am) means that the air is still fresh and cool. I remember when I was between jobs in the summer of 2001 that I got out there almost daily and it did a lot to improve my attitude every single day.

Next up: an early ride on the 20-mile North Branch Trail.

Jun 082010

Here’s a song that was played a lot in my house when I was a kid: an ode to the soon-to-be Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.

Click here to listen to “Here Come The Hawks” by The Dick Marx Orchestra and Chorus

Jun 022010

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This past weekend, we went to Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana. This is a huge place that was formed by glaciers long ago. There are miles of hiking trails through the sandstone ravines and the creeks, and we had perfect weather for it.

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Evidently, this is the place to be, because there were a lot of people there. We were there with Lisa’s parents and her brother and fiancee (and Reggie the Dog), and after a great picnic lunch we went on a 3+ mile hike on one of the roughest trails. (I realized I finally need to replace my hiking shoes.)

You can follow the link above for more info on Turkey Run, or you can also click on this link.

Happy Memorial Day!

Aug 042009


Actually, it was a newer ballpark.
Here, for your midsummer enjoyment, is part of the fireworks show that followed the Schaumburg Flyers – Winnipeg Goldeyes game at Alexian Field on August 1, 2009.
Enjoy!

May 262009

Bike The Drive 2009
As is our May tradition, we rode in this year’s Bike The Drive event, and as always, it was a blast.
This year, Lisa, Emma, and I were up before dawn with our bikes on the back of the car, zipping down the expressway towards Grant Park. We arrived just after the start of the ride (5:30 am) and we rode the north 15-mile loop.
This year I rode my Specialized Allez road bike as opposed to the Schwinn hybrid I’ve used in the past. This was a good idea– the Allez is significantly lighter and really rides well on the freshly-paved patches of Lake Shore Drive.
Bike the Drive 2009
After the ride, we had breakfast at the White Palace Grill, always a favorite.
Next up: the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts in Milwaukee.

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